The 2022-23 NBA season is officially over, as the Denver Nuggets have been crowned champions. Former Sacramento Kings head coach Michael Malone led the Nuggets to an incredible season, but what does their championship mean for the rest of the NBA heading into next year? ESPN looked into the 2023-24 season and released their way-too-early power rankings.
After finishing as the third seed in the Western Conference last season, the Sacramento Kings will continue to climb.
ESPN ranks the Sacramento Kings as the 11th-best team heading into next season.
While being ranked as the 11th-best team in the NBA is a solid ranking, the Sacramento Kings continue to be underrated. Sacramento is easily a top-10 team heading into next season.
The Kings finished with the 7th-best record in the 2022-23 season, and as a young team that is bringing their core group of guys back, they will jump up that ladder. After finishing last season with a 48-34 record, the Kings were bounced in the first round of the playoffs after taking the Golden State Warriors to a Game 7.
Maybe if the Kings made it to the second round, they would’ve been higher on the list, as the team ranked right above the Kings: the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are an aging team who might lose Draymond Green and barely got out of being a play-in team last season.
Speaking of the play-in, another team ahead of the Kings: the Los Angeles Lakers. With LeBron James’ L.A. future still up in the air, the Lakers are losing pieces regardless of LeBron’s decision. The Lakers have seven pending free agents that were getting playoff minutes. Even while coming off a Western Conference Finals appearance, this Lakers squad is not ready for next season and ranked as the 7th-best team is too high.
There are five Western Conference teams ranked ahead of the Kings. Are the Kings going to be the 6th-best team in the West? Certainly not. The Kings will be going into another season underrated. With a collapsing Western Conference, Sacramento will prove many people wrong and make a big splash next season while contending at the top of the West.
Kendra Andrews of ESPN agrees that Sacramento is on the come up (via ESPN):
"“With every player coming back next season, Sacramento’s rise should continue — but with a much higher bar for success.”"
The Sacramento Kings will crack 50 wins next season and will not only be a top-10 team in the NBA but will be featured in the Western Conference Finals. The NBA will fear Sacramento next season as Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox continue to take over the West.